Introduction: Remove Scratches From a CD/DVD With Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly)

Picture of Remove Scratches From a CD/DVD With Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly)

Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly) can be used for chapped lips, dry skin, and for getting rid of head lice; but how about making CDs and DVDs readable again?  Well, it does that too.  There are also other ways to do this on the Instructables website, but I will show you the one that I believe works best.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Before you start removing scratches from your CDs and DVDs, you should grab your materials.  To perform the directions in this Instructable, you will need  the following materials:

- Soft Cloth or Disc Cleaner/Repair
- Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline, Store Brand, etc.)
- Minor to severely scratched discs

Step 2: Cleaning Time!

Picture of Cleaning Time!

Now it's time to apply the petroleum jelly.  I will demonstrate both ways to do this (the tissue and the disc cleaner). 

**UPDATE** Thanks to all of the comments, I have learned that you should not rub in small circular motions as show in picture #1, but instead follow inner perimeter of the disk.

Step 3: Remove the Scratches

Picture of Remove the Scratches

Once that is done, you will need to get rid of the excess grease.  If you did it with a tissue, get a damp cloth and start scrubbing.  (Do NOT use rubbing alcohol unless you want a warped disc)  If you did it with that disc cleaner on the other hand, just hit the start button, wait for it to finish, and repeat the directions above.

Step 4: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

All clean!  As you can see, there are no more visible scratches.  If this didn't work for you, try peanut butter.  Rumor has it that it works.

If there are any improvements that need to be made, please do not hesitate to comment.


general zee (author)2010-04-08

Really bummed this didn't work for me. My daughter scratched her favorite Wii game and they are sooooooo expensive. Thanks anyway...

IfWeChoose (author)general zee2010-04-09

 When you say she scratched big of a scratch?

general zee (author)IfWeChoose2010-04-09

Well, luckily I was able to have our video store clean it in their better machien and it is working but there was a scratch at least an inch long, no more than 2 and not real deep, the 2nd scratch is still there and is only maybe 1/4" and deeper. She told me if it wasn't still working, one more time in the machine may work and then that is probably it. I am going to use a disk cover my dad got and try to protect it so it doesn't get scratched again. No idea if those work but why not try it!

IfWeChoose (author)general zee2010-04-10

 Good thinking! And those disc covers can work wonders. Just made sure to follow the directions to put it on, disc must be clean, no grease and what not so it wont ever fly off and into your console :O

general zee (author)IfWeChoose2010-04-10

Awesome! I never heard of anyone using them but why not???? I had no directions but it was a clean disk and I made sure it snapped on all the way around. They played it yesterday and so far so good! Just not happy about the shorter life on the disk but hopefully it will still last a long time! Thanks!!!!!!!!!

Shiftlock (author)general zee2010-04-15

As long as it's working now, it should last forever as long as you don't damage it anymore.  The information on DVDs is stored digitally, so they don't "wear out" after a certain period of time.  They last forever as long as they're not physically damaged (by scratches).  So there's no reason to think that your disc will have a "shorter life".  It will last as just long as a brand new one, which is forever (as long as it's not damaged again).

ac-dc (author)Shiftlock2010-04-15

No, discs do not last forever.  Even factory pressed discs eventually delaminate, especially from the top layer and then the metal layer oxidizes.

I don't mean it is impossible to make one last a long time in a lab, but that is not the same as regular use and exposure to UV, and the acceptance that discs are not made perfectly.

Being stored digitally means little, just as you would find analog degraded at some point where you found it unacceptable, eventually read value for a digital 0 or 1 can drift across the threshold for determination of 0 or 1, and frankly the kinds of damage that would effect an optical disc even if it were analog would easily prevent reading proper digital bit values... hence we have the need to remove scratches, and if we did not, we'd be able to read it as analog too except that would be a lower bit density/capacity.

Shiftlock (author)ac-dc2010-04-15

Wow, that's about the most anal-retentive reply I've ever seen.  Obviously nothing lasts FOREVER, but digital media does not degrade in quality over time like magnetic media does.  As long as the disc stays in perfect PHYSICAL condition, it will last forever.  Period.  Issues like delamination are only an issue if the disc was manufactured improperly.  You can expect a mass-produced DVD to last 100 years, which is far longer than the hardware that reads it will even be in use.

ac-dc (author)Shiftlock2010-04-15

It is disappointing that you troll when you are incorrect.  Digital media DOES degrade in quality, as I attempted to educate you about.  Error correction code is used on discs for this reason.

It will not last forever, it is pointless to suggest "as long as it stays in perfect physical condition" because we could say EVERYTHING lasts forever so long as it stays in perfect physical condition.

What you do not understand is everything does not stay in perfect physical condition and although a CD will usually last a bit longer than a magnetic storage medium regardless of whether it is digital or analog, it is simply incorrect to claim forever and no trolling changes that.

Shiftlock (author)ac-dc2010-04-15

Actually, I think you are the one trolling.  You're not adding anything to the thread at all.  I know your type.  The type of person who is always looking for a debate.  Fact is, a DVD will last VIRTUALLY forever.  If it's kept in good condition, which is quite possible since nothing actually touches the media in order to read it.  They are made of polycarbonate, which is a long-lasting material, and the data is stored digitally.  A properly cared for DVD will last far longer than 99.9& of people need it to, and will probably outlast the person who owns it.  Saying things like "nothing lasts forever" and "nothing stays in perfect condition" is just argumentative.  One of the benefits of CD/DVD media over older magnetic media is data shelf life.  You just can't argue with that - it's a fact.  If this weren't the case, I wouldn't have bothered to transfer my wedding videos onto DVD last year.

You're arguing with someone who majored in material sciences and works with materials similar to those that DVDs are constructed of every day, so you're fighting a losing battle here.

ac-dc (author)Shiftlock2010-04-15

1)  I did not add misinformation, but I helped dispel the myth you started.

2)  I did not troll by writing "anal-retentive", you did.  I am being nice but you don't deserve it.  :)

3)  I am not looking for debate, I am spreading accurate information while it conflicts with your vanity that whatever you write isn't automatically right if only you write enough to argue.

4)  Face it, you are ignorant of the technology.  It is not relevant whether it is analog or digital, and it is pointless to think in terms of "if it stays in perfect condition".  As I already educated you, ALL THINGS that stay in perfect condition would never lose data.  You make a pointless distinction because you don't know what matters, don't know the science behind it.

5)  You are the one being argumentative while I am citing real world fact.  The real world fact is, there is no use of media that does not subject it to wear, to harm, to UV rays, to eventual problems.

6)  You transferred wedding photos ONE W_H_O_L_E YEAR ago?  You must be joking, even shorter lived magnetic tapes last well over ten years, and many CDRs or DVDs that people have made turned out rotten after less than 3 years even safely stored away because of poor manufacturing and materials.

You do not work with materials similar to DVDs everyday in any meaningful scientific way.  Perhaps you stock them at Walmart but it is not the same as knowing - which you do not.

I have wasted too much of my time already, if you don't want to learn then at least others will be able to read the info I provide and know there is no such thing as depending on a disc "forever" because it is a disc, but especially not because it is merely digital.  History has already proven what you assumed in error.

coolidgeman (author)ac-dc2017-01-20

7 years later and you still are annoying people. congratulations.

DanielS64 (author)ac-dc2015-07-08

The other guy is right. Digital does not degrade. The MEDIUM that the digital content in on might degrade (the plastic disk), but the content itself does not degrade.

I think you are confusing degradation in multiple generations of copying where the copy is not bit-perfect, as in from one drive to another to another. But this obviously isn't the case with a DVD or CD.

Shiftlock (author)ac-dc2010-04-15

There's no way I'm wasting my time even reading that book you just wrote.  You are wrong about the life of DVDs, and it's easily verifyable by anyone who wants to do a simple Google search.  The more you argue it, the more you make yourself look like a fool.  I'm done.  You may have the last word now, which I'm sure you will, because people like you always have to have the last word.  Enjoy it.  I won't be reading it.  Goodbye.

general zee (author)Shiftlock2010-04-15

I know, I just meant if it gets scratched again. i feel like it has limited life because one more scratch could do it in! Thanks!!!!!!!

MaXoR (author)general zee2010-04-16

Really want to clarify something here for you:

1) The process that your video store used was to literally sand down the disc. That minimizes the scratches, however like she had said, it is only good for one or two goes, before you've thinned the disk too much, and it will warp during spinning, and become unreadable (Not permanently.... I mean it will deflect during it's rotation because of the forces of mass, velocity, and centrifuge being applied to the now-to-flimsy plastic disc..... to be nerdy for a second lol)

2) Applying something onto the disc, not designed to be abrasive, but to fill cracks, is a process that can be repeated indefinitely until either too much damage has happened from use, or you lose interest in the game. It's up to you to find the "best" one that works for you, and then get a supply of it!

I personally would prefer the second option for obvious reasons, the first method also leaves circular micro scratches on the disc if they didn't use a secondary, finer, buff wheel.

Hope that sheds light on something you may not have thought about yet, if you did... sorry for the annoying reminder ;)

Have you tried coulouring the edge of the cd with permanent marker. I have done this alot with sratched skipping audio cds?

daiatlus79 (author)general zee2010-04-12

hack ur wii with the homebrew channel then download the game (not illegal if you own the original) 

ChayM (author)daiatlus792016-04-22

Actually it is still ilegal, do some research

JacobB58 (author)daiatlus792015-11-21

yeah what about other platforms (dont answer i was being sarcastic) you need WiiFlow on the Wii but the wii dont have any wifi no more they took it down:(

saintneko (author)general zee2010-04-15

 You can go to a place like TAP plastics and get microabrasive liquids that are meant for polishing DVDs and CDS, works great, saved a copy of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City from oblivion (yes, I played it that hard). 

HOWEVER if the top (metal foil / printer layer) was scratched you are out of luck because that layer backs the actual data (the plastic is just a millimeter thick chunk of plastic protecting the rest.

1472 (author)2016-05-07

please could you send a pic of the other moshion.

electric guy (author)2016-03-06

hi gpotvin I was wondering if I could take ur idea and do some experiments and make a Instuctable out of what I got would that be OK?

Leiana2213 (author)2016-02-17

Awesome! This worked for a scratched game disc (I can still see the scratches, but the petroleum acts as a filler) and it now works!

Ammiss (author)2016-02-15

Awesome! This saved one of my favorite Pilates DVDs! Thanks so much!

judyinnyc (author)2016-01-18

This really works!!! Thank you so much!

KevinH55 (author)2015-09-22

DVDs are made out of plastic. Plastic degrades over time, just like any other petrolium based product. There was a few manufacturers who were producing discs using an inferior process and cheap material, many of these discs "rotted" the layers of plastic separated making the discs unusable. Regarding the debate on dvds lasting "forever"; as I mentioned, plastic products do degrade over time, how long they last depends on the quality of materials and manufacturing, as well as the care you put in to preserving them. Most well made discs should last at least a lifetime as long as you are careful not to scratch them or expose them to harsh environments. You can do a search to find out exactly how long..
Petrolium Jelly is not an abrasive compound, it's not capable of polishing, so this solution probably works by filling in the cracks with the clear petrolium jelly. Or, since plastic is a petrolium based product, the jelly will act as a sollovent, slowly dissolving and eating away at the damaged layers of the disc.

If this instructable didnt work for you, the disc may not be the cause of the problem. You might need to clean your laser lense. There are discs you can get that will do this for you, or you can do it yourself by using a Q-tip and rubbing alchohol. If your device has a slide-out disc tray, you will need to disassemble it to gain access to the lense. One more thing to mention is that many optical disc lasers will degrade over time as well, and you might have to look in to replacing the laser, the disc drive, or the entire device itself.

All lazers have a "pot" which is a small chamber where light is bounced around repeatedly until it reaches the correct wavelength to exit the lazers. Some devices have a screw where you can adjust the pot. Some devices also have a screw where the power supllied to the lazer can be increased or decreased. The fat PS2 has ajustment screws. You will have to research for specific details for your device.

DerpyR (author)2015-09-15

This didn't get all of it off but i did get alot so i say this is a great hack (yes i love hack my life, its a show)

BoahB (author)2015-07-10

I tried this method on my Ratchet Deadlocked and Ty the Tasmanian Tiger PS2 games and while it didn't return it back to mint condition it restored it to a dramaticly less scratched disk

DanielS64 (author)2015-07-08

Coolguy196 (author)2015-07-01

does this work for video games also

BrandonM13 (author)2015-06-27

This doesnt work. It doesnt work no matter how much i try it.

TheRichPatchRambler (author)2015-05-02

For dvd, cd, etc. disc repair of minor to moderate scratches use neutrogena blackhead eliminating daily scrub, using a very clean cotton cloth or scotchbrite cloth apply cream with disc placed on flat surface, do not make circular motions, rub from inner circle of disc straight toward outside edge, before cream gets dry, use another very clean cotton cloth (I used a white all cotton sock) Using same motion as you applied cream polish disc until shiny and clean of any residue of the cream. Ive had excellent results with this method with my toshiba laptop recovery discs that had started having errors during factory restoring my laptop. Good luck with you disc cleaning project.

I've heard that using pledge works. Have you heard anything like this?

isaactheawesome (author)2011-06-26

i've tried everthing! toothpaste, a banana, peanut butter, and nothing! none of them worked and after i tried this it still did't work PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!

Try white toothpaste

well, there is one more thing you can use..... try a light bulb...... DJ'S use it to heat the cd into working...... turn a lamp on-(but the light bulb has to be a 70 watt light bulb) put your finger in the center of the cd and rotate it slowly on top of the bulb. it will make your cd forcefully work again even if it is scratched... ur welcome!!!!(-:

OliviaM2 (author)2015-02-19

will it still work if i only have vaseline?

FayeD1 (author)OliviaM22015-04-19

Vaseline is petroleum jelly

ashiag (author)2015-04-08

I have a disc would it hurt it with vaseline i don't have the other stuff

FayeD1 (author)ashiag2015-04-19

Vaseline is petroleum jelly

kayla.jarman.566 (author)2015-03-11

Used the petroleum jelly, doesn't work , skips even worse.

joseph.zeitz (author)2015-02-08

This really works!!!! So excited, thank you thank you thank you!!!!

modtrend (author)2010-04-07

my reading glasses are scratched. would this work for the glasses also or has anyone got an alternative solution

cgarcia57 (author)modtrend2014-04-24

I used pledge on my reading glasses. It seemed to have helped a little bit. The scratches are not so bothersome now. It doesn't hurt to try.

jdailey2 (author)cgarcia572014-11-30

U can use fog free to for summer to keep the fog out

ac-dc (author)modtrend2010-04-15

No, this marginally works for reading a disc but the human eye can see the distortion and it would be headache inducing.

They make a proper plastic polishing compound for optical lenses, or even regular plastic polish would be be better.  If the lenses are glass I recommend just replacing them.

Gabewright (author)2014-11-06

Did it twice with vaseline using the tissue, now the dvd barely plays. I wouldnt do if i were you!!!

jdailey2 (author)Gabewright2014-11-30

Use old rag not tissue....

Nope44 (author)2014-11-24

I just did this and now the cd won't play at all. Thanks

About This Instructable



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